Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Operational Security //

Big Data

3/23/2018
09:35 AM
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
50%
50%

In Facebook Debacle, More Than Zuckerberg to Blame

Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg are rightly taking a lot of heat from the fallout over Cambridge Analytica and the firm's use of social media data. However, other businesses, as well as users, need to take some responsibility as well.

Facebook and its privacy practices has been at the top of this week's news cycles as the realization of what went on, starting in 2014 and continuing through the 2016 presidential election, has finally dawned on the general public.

The social media giant, along with CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has been accused of all sorts of malfeasance by the denizens of the Internet, the press and even the US government.

There's a real underlying problem here, though. It's the Facebook users themselves that let all of this happen.

It's not new news that Facebook data has been mined for political purposes before this. The Obama campaign did so quite effectively in 2012.

What sets this apart is that a third-party app was able to figure out the private data of the friends of whoever was using that app. This is something that Facebook claimed in 2011, as part of a consent order with the US Federal Trade Commission that it would not allow for commercial use.

There seems to have been an exception for academic use, which was exploited by a Russian-connected academic turned around and who sold that data to a third party -- the shell company Cambridge Analytica -- in violation of Facebook policies. (See How to Access the Voter Information Dirt Cambridge Analytica Has on You.)

Facebook has a primary business model of providing data on its users to commercial interests, who then buy advertising that is targeted to these users based on this data. It's how Facebook lives. In return, it allows users to have certain abilities on its system -- such as posting and sharing things -- but then watches what they actually do and then tells advertisers about it.

Users who are not aware that this happens have their heads buried in the sand in denial. Information of any sort they give to Facebook -- directly or indirectly -- can be exploited by Facebook for their benefit in some manner.

And it's not only Facebook that has this as a business model. Your Internet service provider (ISP) can do the same thing -- selling a list of which sites you connect to interested advertisers.

Any broadband connection you use can detail information to others about what you are doing on the Internet. Yes, I'm looking at you, cable TV.


The fundamentals of network security are being redefined -- don't get left in the dark by a DDoS attack! Join us in Austin from May 14-16 at the fifth annual Big Communications Event. There's still time to register and communications service providers get in free!

And let's not forget about Google, which has been snickering in the background while Facebook has been getting all the heat. The "Don't Be Evil" firm sort of invented the game here.

So, what can be done in a practical manner to stop Facebook from somehow spewing out things you don't want out?

Have you ever checked Facebook privacy settings? It's a menu choice under the triangle icon you use to log out.

One section is called Apps. There are choices there that allow deletion of apps that can use your information -- or the information of your friends -- for their own purposes. One might delete them all if one wanted to. This privacy granularity wasn't available in quite the same way to users in 2014, but it is now.

Attention to these settings could have stopped the Russian-linked academic in 2014. Changing them now might stop someone else who doesn't care about what Facebook policies are, but just wants the data.

In the end, you are always responsible for your own data. Don't blame Facebook for not being your data nanny. Take back control of your own digital life.

Related posts:

— Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/25/2020
Hacking Yourself: Marie Moe and Pacemaker Security
Gary McGraw Ph.D., Co-founder Berryville Institute of Machine Learning,  9/21/2020
Startup Aims to Map and Track All the IT and Security Things
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15208
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, when determining the common dimension size of two tensors, TFLite uses a `DCHECK` which is no-op outside of debug compilation modes. Since the function always returns the dimension of the first tensor, malicious attackers can ...
CVE-2020-15209
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, a crafted TFLite model can force a node to have as input a tensor backed by a `nullptr` buffer. This can be achieved by changing a buffer index in the flatbuffer serialization to convert a read-only tensor to a read-write one....
CVE-2020-15210
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, if a TFLite saved model uses the same tensor as both input and output of an operator, then, depending on the operator, we can observe a segmentation fault or just memory corruption. We have patched the issue in d58c96946b and ...
CVE-2020-15211
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In TensorFlow Lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, saved models in the flatbuffer format use a double indexing scheme: a model has a set of subgraphs, each subgraph has a set of operators and each operator has a set of input/output tensors. The flatbuffer format uses indices f...
CVE-2020-15212
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In TensorFlow Lite before versions 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, models using segment sum can trigger writes outside of bounds of heap allocated buffers by inserting negative elements in the segment ids tensor. Users having access to `segment_ids_data` can alter `output_index` and then write to outside of `outpu...